Emma Delaney (Faculty Librarian, Environment & Technology) and Morwenna Peters (Library Campus Manager and Subject Librarian, Arts, Creative Industries and Education), University of the West of England (Bristol): Embedding study skills support into teaching and enquiry services
Emma and Morwenna identified four facets of presenting support:
- Traditional information literacy
- Face to face support
- Online support
- Enquiry services
In order to facilitate the embedding of the support they formed an Academic Literacy Forum to develop a robust hub, since academic skills are now part of the remit in which they have a co-ordinating role along with the Royal Literary Fellows.
This includes: support and training for librarians; workbooks in Blackboard; observing, co-teaching and leading; English for Academic Purposes courses; co-delivery with academic staff (which could be more engaging for the students).
They have produced a dedicated study skills web site available from the library webpage and the student study support webpages. The approach illustrates the advantages of collaborating with other university departments, in the case the Academic Support Unit, using joint enterprise to increase the effective availability of the services. This also extends to the 24/7 chat service available from various locations in the website via a widget.
There was discussion about developing a policy on the extent to which these services should provide a proof reading service to students. It has been found that frequent approaches to the referencing service were for proof reading which it was decided not to offer.
For Architecture students the support includes advice on reading, note taking and referencing, plus: in year 1, an online workbook, and academic related diagnostic; in year 2 a two-hour face to face session; in year 3 back to online support. In year 1 the training faced a challenge presented by students not attending!
For Fashion and Photography students in addition to a Visual Culture workbook they receive guidance on critical reading, thinking and writing especially with regard to reviewing shows.
Heriot Watt call their skills training sessions ‘Power Hours’.
The challenges have been illustrated by the following questions:
- Is this our role?
- How do we share best practice?
- What next?
- What is a librarian?
- Whither the materials library?
Review by Philip Pearson, The Courtauld Institute of Art.